Construction underway for western Pennsylvania’s newest public high school

Ground has been broken and construction is underway on Western Pennsylvania’s newest public high school, the Midland Innovation + Technology Charter School (MITCS). The facility will be housed in the Charles J. Betters Innovation Center; a newly constructed cutting-edge career technical education (CTE) high school on South 12th Street at Innovation Way in Midland, Beaver County. The land on which it is being built is a completely reclamated former brownfield site that has been brought up to residential standards and generously donated by prominent developer Charles J. Betters, the owner of C. J. Betters Enterprises.

“I’m proud to be associated with this project, with this school, and with the people from Midland who are making it all happen,” Betters told the crowd of approximately 100 gathered for the event.

Set to open in the fall of 2022, MITCS will provide students in grades 9 through 12 the chance to pursue areas of personal interest and tackle real-life projects to prepare them for a world of opportunity. MITCS will allow students to fulfill state requirements for a high school diploma while also earning certifications, licensing, apprenticeships, and even associates degrees in trades, technology, and other fields of endeavor. Students will graduate prepared to enter the workforce or continue on through post-secondary education or training. As a public charter school, MITCS will provide its services and programming tuition-free to Pennsylvania students.

“Reimagining how we provide current and future generations a transformational education that is every bit as innovative, inspiring, and impactful as the revitalization now reshaping our physical landscape is crucial to effectively addressing a range of public concerns,” said Stephen Catanzarite, chairman of the school’s founders group. “That’s a role MITCS will seek to fulfill.”

Courses of study at MITCS will include: Petrochemical Studies, Gaming and Simulations, Safety Engineering, Transportation and Logistics, American Enterprise and Global Studies, Aviation Technology, Sustainable Water, and Healthcare Innovations. MITCS will be organized through four interconnected and collaborative academies which were introduced at the groundbreaking ceremony. Included are the PGT Trucking Transportation + Logistics Academy funded by a $500,000 gift from PGT Trucking CEO and Founder Pat Gallagher who, along with Mr. Betters, were leaders on the MITCS Organizing Committee.

“I believe in this school, and PGT is supporting it, because I believe in Chuck Betters and the folks here in Midland who are leading the effort,” Gallagher said.

Another academy is the Dr. Cyril H. Wecht Forensic Science + Justice Academy, named for the fabled Pittsburgh-based forensic scientist who gifted his college-level curriculum to the new charter high school.

“I am deeply honored that this academy dedicated to the study of forensic science will bear my name, and I promise you all that I will be involved and work hard in the coming years to make sure its curriculum and instruction are of the highest quality,” Wecht said.

“This is a great day for Midland, for Beaver County, and for the students of our region,” said Beaver County Board Commissioners Chairman, Daniel Camp. “On behalf of my fellow commissioners, we are happy to be able to support it, and we know it will be a great success.”

Two yet-to-be-named academies are the MITCS Community Development + Sustainability Academy and the Skilled Trades + Technical Careers Academy.

Research demonstrated a need for a modern full-day CTE high school for girls and boys in grades 9 through 12 especially with the region’s first reindustrialization in more than a century. Over the next decade, there is a projected growth of over 4.5 million skilled manufacturing jobs. Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute estimate that over 2 million of these jobs may go unfilled due a shortage of skilled workers. MITCS is being developed as a response in our region.

Groundbreaking participants (left to right): Jerry Hodge (President MITCS Board of Trustees), David Vuckovich (President, Midland Borough School District Board of Directors), Pat Gallagher (CEO/Founder PGT Trucking), Sean Tanner (Superintendent, Midland Borough School District), Lenny McCallister (Executive Director, Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools), Charles J. Betters (President, C. J. Betters Enterprises), Angela “Poobie” Adkins (Mayor, Borough of Midland), Dr. Cyril H. Wecht (Famed Pathologist and Forensic Scientist), Stephen Catanzarite (Founding CEO, MITCS) James Reeb (Principal, Social Impact Properties), Daniel Camp (Chairman, Beaver County Commissioners), Mark Elder (Operations Consultant/Member of the MITCS Organizing Committee).